A friend of mine told me that he left me money in his Last Will and Testament. How do I know if it is really true?
How incredibly fortunate you are that your friend thought enough of you to leave you a gift in his Last Will and Testament.
If your friend is alive, there is no objective way to verify the gift unless he volunteers to give you a copy of his Last Will and Testament. I think asking for a copy of his will is rude, and I would caution you about doing so.
If your friend is deceased, you can check with the probate clerk in the county where your friend resided to see if the Last Will and Testament has been deposited or if a Formal or Summary Probate Administration proceeding has been opened. Whoever is the custodian of the Last will and testament should deposit the original Last Will and Testament with the clerk of the court for safe safekeeping within 10 days of the date of death. See Florida statute735.402.
Unfortunately, this rule is rarely followed because it takes so long for a death certificate to be issued by the state, as well as I'm sure your friend's family is busy with his final funeral arrangements. Again, I hate to be rude, but I would caution against you asking the family members for a copy of your Friend's Last Will and Testament.
If a formal probate or summary administration is opened, and you are a beneficiary of the Last Will and Testament, you will be contacted by the estate attorney and be provided a copy of the testamentary instrument.
If there is no Probate Administration, it likely means that there were no assets that needed the court's involvement to settle, and if that is the case, there would be no assets to distribute to you.
There is no good answer to the question you ask, but as an estate attorney, this is not an uncommon question that I am asked.
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